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Hiking Trails in Puerto Vallarta and Around Banderas Bay

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Hiking has become one of the fast-growing hobbies and activities for people of all ages in Puerto Vallarta. In part thanks to the global pandemic, which led to people limiting their indoor social activities for basically two years, and in part thanks to cultural changes in Mexico and the world that led to living a healthier life, the community in Bahia de Banderas have become fans of hiking.

We can all agree that we have many spots in Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Nayarit that even people that do not like this activity are aware of because of the popularity on social media or magazines of these Instagrammable spots.

Do you like hiking or would like to try this activity? Here I share with you the Top 5 most beautiful trails in the Bay of Banderas, and if you love nature, you’re going to love them!

Boca de Tomatlán – Las Animas Beach

This is the most popular trail among locals and tourists. You start the trail in Boca de Tomatlán and follow the coast, passing through beautiful sceneries of the jungle, wooden bridges, magical ocean views, and charming small beaches like Madagascar, Colomitos, Caballo, up until Playa Las Animas, where you can enjoy a drink or rest at one of the many restaurants in the beach.

We recommend taking this trail early morning. You can hike your way back to Boca de Tomatlán or pay for a panga (boat) to bring you back. Kids and adults can hike this trail, but as always, bring water and wear comfy clothes and shoes so you can enjoy the almost 8km (back and forth) of this beautiful trail.

Location: Boca de Tomatlán (20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta)
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: Around 7.5km total

Nogalito River

The exuberant mountains of Puerto Vallarta have many treasures that many tourists and even locals do not know about. Exploring the Nogalito River is no doubt one of the most relaxing and magical activities you can do. The refreshing water that flows from high up in the mountains, the green trees that protect you from the sun, the gorgeous waterfalls, and the variety of insects, lizards, butterflies and birds you can see along the river, make this trail one of the most visited by biologists and lovers of nature. Again, we recommend this hike in the morning – and in the company of a guide.

Location: Nogalito (20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta)
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: Around 5km total

Mirador del Cerro de la Cruz

Our list of hiking trails would not be complete without this urban spot for sunset lovers in the city. This spot is 15-20 minutes from the Malecón and you can get to it taking different routes, like from Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez street, a straight uphill route whose slope increases as it approaches the viewpoint, where you can enjoy some of the best 360° views of the city. Another route, for many the best, is via Abasolo street, which is a little more direct and starts from the Malecón, going up the hill. We recommend taking this trail early morning or at least 40 minutes before the sun sets.

Location: Cerro de la Cruz, Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: Around 1.5km total

Cerro de Conchas Chinas

Did you know you can get a spectacular view of the south shore from a short distance from one of the hills of Amapas?

To get to this relatively unknown trail in Puerto Vallarta, start on Calle Paseo de los Delfines in Conchas Chinas, which if you follow all the way up will take you to the Grand Miramar Resort. Right in front of the street you will see a couple of hundred concrete steps you will have to climb, before continuing along the dirt trail that will take you to the top of the mountain, and to the stunning views of the South Shore of Puerto Vallarta and Cabo Corrientes. To get the best views I recommend visiting early morning or right before sunset. If you go to watch the sunset be careful thought, because the journey home will be at night. So be sure to bring a lantern and a guide.

Location: Federal Highway 200, corner of Calle Paseo de los Delfines, Conchas Chinas, Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: Around 6km total

Cerro del Mono

Cerro del Mono is located north of Banderas Bay, in the vicinity of the Higuera Blanca community. It is a peak that, in recent months, has gained popularity as a hiking route among residents and visitors to the region. It is a mountain approximately 350 meters high, from where you can appreciate the beauty of the Pacific in all its splendor.

This beautiful trail starts at Plaza Higuera Blanca. Although the trail is very well marked with white spots painted on the trees to mark it, be careful, as you can get confused if you do not know the area. Do not worry though, some areas with a white x to tell you it’s the wrong trail. The finish is somewhat steep. From the top you can enjoy the spectacular views of the bay so it is very worth it to visit, at least once!

Location: Higuera Blanca, Bahia de Banderas
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7km total

Of course these are only some of the hiking trails you can visit in Puerto Vallarta and around the Bay of Banderas, there are many more to discover!

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